“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together.
There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension….”
In solidarity with activists around the world, Global Action for Trans* Equality honors the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17, 2016. This year’s IDAHOT calls us with particular intensity as trans, non binary people and gender diverse people continue to face bias, discrimination, and violence that threatens our very existence:
• Violence continues to define the trans experience, with arbitrary detention, torture and murder impacting disproportionate numbers of trans people around the globe.
• Trans identities, expressions, bodies and their very basic functions are increasingly becoming a privileged place for discrimination, oppression, exclusion and criminalization.
• Trans people continue to be pathologized through psycho-medical classifications in the DSM and International Classification of Diseases; through legal codes that restrict our right to identity; and through institutional practices that treat us more like walking disorders than human beings. Pathologization not stigmatizes trans, non-binary and gender diverse people by limiting our access to legal recognition and bodily autonomy – it also legitimizes and justifies the persistence of sterilization as a requirement for trans people’s human rights.
• As trans youth become aware of their own identities as trans and non-binary people at younger ages, their visibility has been use to exploit them and their families, making them the target transphobic and media exploitation disguised as public education.
• Trans people’s access to mental healthcare is becoming increasingly difficult –and often impossible – due to the deadly combination of institutionalized transphobia, lack of access to medical services, and the lack of property trained mental health providers. This situation is particularly severe for trans sex workers, trans people in prison, black trans people, trans people from indigenous populations, trans migrants, trans people living with HIV, and trans people living in poverty.
While the world has yet to fully embrace the resilience, creativity, and contributions of trans people, GATE congratulates those trans, non binary and gender diverse activists who commit every day to the hard work of transforming the world while struggling to survive it. We call upon States, donors, allies, and experts to work with us in identifying, addressing, and dismantling cissexism, transphobia, and its consequences. Today, we call each of us to celebrate a personal and political IDAHOT: To make ourselves a living revolution against a world that would otherwise pathologize and dismiss us, and, in Calvino’s words, to “seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”
Mauro Cabral & Masen Davis, Co-Directors
Global Action for Trans* Equality – GATE